A new species of tiny fly named after the fairy in "Peter Pan" is mind-blowingly miniscule, with delicate wings trimmed in fringe.
Tinkerbella nana is a newly discovered species of fairyfly from Costa Rica. Fairyflies are a type of chalcid wasp, and almost all are parasites, living on the eggs and larvae of other insects. It's a gruesome way to live, but it makes fairyflies useful for farmers, who sometimes import them to control nasty pests.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Leicester/University of Arizona
Astronomers using an observatory in Hawaii kicked off a month-long campaign to study the northern lights on Saturn study Sunday (April 21) in a live webcast…Read More »
from Hawaii's iconic Keck Observatory.
During a three-hour webcast, scientists discussed everything from the ringed planet's atmosphere to new discoveries made about the gas giant in the last year. While speaking with the public via social media, the researchers also used the Keck Observatory to observe auroras on Saturn to understand how the mysterious phenomenon works. The scientists weren't able to show live-video of the observations, but they did review some major Saturn discoveries during the webcast.
A stunning blue diamond broke a world record today, fetching a price of 6.2 million British pounds (about $9.6 million), or about $1.8 million per carat,…Read More »
according to auctioneer Bonhams.
The diamond is a brilliant blue and is set in a ring made by Italian jeweler Bulgari around 1965. The high price likely comes from the diamond's unusual color as well as its posh setting: Bulgari is a company beloved by the Hollywood glitterati, and blue diamonds are rarely up for sale. This particular blue diamond also happens to be a large chunk of ice at 5.3 carets.
Just as human travelers often adopt the local cuisine, wild monkeys learn to eat what those around them are eating, new research finds.
A study of wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) in South Africa provides proof that primates other than humans adopt and conform to cultural behaviors. Given a choice between two foods, infant monkeys ate only the foods that their mothers ate. And young males that ventured to other groups soon switched to the local diet, researchers report online today (April 25) in the journal Science.
The Pacific boa usually eats skinks and geckos, and other small reptiles on the islands of Fiji where it is found. But it also has a more concerning prey:…Read More »
the endangered Fiji banded iguana, which is much larger than its common prey and — more importantly — deemed endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
A photo taken by Robert Fisher and his colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey is the first time the boa has been observed eating this iguana, which was only discovered in 2008, according to ABC Science. The iguana is named Brachylophus bulabula, after the Fijian word for "hello" (bulabula).
Star formation involves more than meets the eye. Huge "starbursts" that give birth to hundreds of millions of new stars at once within galaxies all over…Read More »
the universe seem to affect their host galaxies in surprising ways, a new study reveals.
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope found that the extreme winds created by rapid star formation can be felt up to 650,000 light-years from the center of the galaxy, much farther than previously thought, Hubble mission scientists said in a statement today (April 25). Winds from the starbursts actually form halos that reach about 20 times farther into space than the visible size of the galaxy.
Watch out for that splash zone. "Thunder Hole" at Acadia National Park can be an intense experience. This Maine landmark consists of a small inlet and…Read More »
natural underwater cavern. When the surf is high, water and air get forced through the cavern under high pressure, shooting up like watery fireworks. (The waves are just as loud as fireworks, too, explaining the name Thunder Hole.) Water can shoot out of Thunder Hole as high as 40 feet (12 m). Less «
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Ancient queen discovered?
Credit: Wessex Archaeology
More than 4,000 years ago, a woman, perhaps an ancient queen, was carefully laid to rest outside of modern-day London, ornamented with beads of gold strung…Read More »
around her neck and a large drinking cup placed at her hip. Archaeologists have just uncovered her grave at a quarry that lies between Windsor Castle and Heathrow airport.
The gold ornaments suggest the woman was important, possibly of the elite and even a princess or queen, the excavators said.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ O. Krause (Steward Observatory)
Two surprising grains of sand in a pair of meteorites that landed on Earth suggest they were formed in a single supernova that occurred billions of years…Read More »
ago, new research suggests. These grains may even come from the same star explosion that sparked the formation of the solar system, scientists say.
Both meteorites were found in Antarctica, and appear to date from before the solar system was born 4.6 billion years ago. Each contains a single grain of silica (SiO2, which is the main ingredient of sand). The chemical signature of these grains is identical, and extremely rare — so rare, in fact, that scientists suspect both grains came from a single supernova. This type of supernova occurs when a massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion and collapses in on itself in a giant explosion.
Attention Stonehenge enthusiasts: there's a job opening at the mysterious stone monument, and a better opportunity may not arise for the next 5,000 years.
…Read More »
English Heritage, the organization that oversees Stonehenge as well as 420 other historic properties around Britain, is seeking a "dynamic and inspirational leader" who can "take the Stonehenge visitor experience forward," according to a job posting on English Heritage's website. The new manager will oversee efforts on a new visitor center and coordinate summer solstice activities. The job pays £65,000 ($99,229).